Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has proclaimed July 28 - August 3 as Human Trafficking Awareness Week in Tennessee. Human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, is quickly becoming a major public health concern. Today, an estimated 40.3 million people are being trafficked worldwide, including an estimated 94 children each month here in Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Health urges all Tennesseans to learn about risk factors, red flags and resources for human trafficking to be part of the solution, and possibly help save a life.
"The trauma experienced by those who are trafficked can have life-long effects on their mental, physical, psychological and social health, which makes it a challenge for public health in our state," said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. "It is important that we continue our work with our partners to prevent human trafficking and educate Tennesseans on how to identify the signals for this crime and support those who have been impacted by it."
The Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and stakeholders across the state are partnering with the Red Sand Project during Human Trafficking Awareness Week. The Red Sand Project is a participatory art installment designed to shed light on human trafficking. Participants will gather at sites around the state and pour red sand in sidewalk seams to draw attention to the human trafficking victims who fall through the cracks every day.
TDH will join the Office of the District Attorney Nashville; Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County's Office of Family Safety, Juvenile Court and Juvenile Court Clerk and the YWCA to host a Red Sand Project event at Nashville's Public Square Park at noon July 31. The public is invited to attend. Those interested in joining this effort to raise awareness of human trafficking are asked to RSVP at www.eventbrite.com/e/from-message-to-movement-activism-through-art-tickets-61900665557.
To find a Red Sand Project event in your area visit https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ycElc5wAU3rZWZaj9trWGGV3sztNzVUA&usp=sharing.
TDH has also partnered with the Metro Nashville Airport Authority. MNAA parking garages will be lit blue on July 30-31 in observance of World Day against Trafficking in Persons, which is a national call to action observed on July 30 each year.
If you know someone who needs help to escape trafficking, contact the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-558-6484.
If you suspect you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, you may call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233722. Hotline staff members will identify resources in your community. For more information on human trafficking and the hotline, visit https://humantraffickinghotline.org/.
For more resources and information on human trafficking please visit www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/program-areas/rwh/Human-Trafficking-Resource-Guide.pdf.
Learn more about the Red Sand Project at https://redsandproject.org/.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.